Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness/Time review

  • Cute story
  • Strong replay value
  • Tons of Pokemon to see
  • Repetitive gameplay
  • It's a dumber version of Shiren
  • Few advancements over the original

Last year's Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games were an interesting mix of developer Chunsoft's dungeon-crawling designs and Nintendo's inimitable pocket monsters. It was an interesting blend that offered a fun time... for a limited audience. For most Pokemon fans, the game was a bit boring compared to the mainline Pokemon titles. The latest games in the series, Explorers of Darkness and Explorers of Time, are more of the same. While there are some incremental advances, these new games do absolutely nothing to appeal to new players.

Similar to the original, players start off with a personality test that determines what type of Pokemon they will be. After that, the player tries to discover how the hell they became a Pokemon - that's right: the big twist is that you literally are a Pokemon, not a human.

To kill time, earn some money, and help out critters in need, the main character forms a rescue team. Dozens of missions lead to dozens of dungeon crawls. All the dungeons are randomly generated, which adds greatly to the game's replay value. Or would, if the dungeons were less monotonous. Unfortunately, the gameplay gets pretty repetitive - explore dungeon, beat up Pokemon, find object or Pokemon, exit dungeon, lather and repeat.

On the plus side, the game looks and sounds nominally better than its predecessors. There are also hundreds of Pokemon to battle and adventure with. In typical Pokemon fashion, players have to interact with owners of the game's sister title in order to unlock all of the game's features. There's also a WiFi feature that enables players to send out rescue requests, should they die. All told, this game ends up as a much cuter, much brighter, and much dumber version of Shiren the Wanderer, another DS RPG.

The newest Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games are perfect for players that adore Pokemon, love the grinding gameplay of dungeon crawling games, but would prefer a watered down version. If you're not one of the 37 people that meet all three of those criteria, Explorers of Darkness/Time is a rental at best. Pokemon fans are better served by playing more Diamond/Pearl while waiting for the next Pokemon Ranger game. Dungeon crawling aficionados should play Shiren the Wanderer, Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, Etrian Odyssey, or several other games that offer deeper, better, and more challenging takes on this style of gameplay.

Apr 30, 2008

More Info

Release date: Apr 20 2008 - DS (US)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Chunsoft
Franchise: Pokemon
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Mild Cartoon Violence




  • jscriber100 - September 18, 2010 11:54 a.m.

    the game gets too repetitive real fast,but the storyline is interesting and it beats the old game,blue rescue team.
  • secretsearcher - October 23, 2009 1:42 p.m.

    "one of the 37 people that meet all three of those criteria" (raises hand) You mean me? I like this game.
  • gamefreak08 - August 29, 2008 8:30 a.m.

    i guess it was alright but they could of added more detail
  • Dark_Pokemon_Luver - October 25, 2008 12:42 a.m.

    Aye i agree. Its the same almost as Blue and Red Rescue team but more pokemon and detail. I wished they jazzed it up a bit with more interesting items and dungeons i mean the items and dungeons are almost the same, well th dungeon desings are the same. I wish they'd make more pokemon games for us to enjoy that keeps us excited, like me i beat and get bored easily with my pokemon games. I love the 3D touch in the battle revolution i was amazed on how real they looked i loved it but sadly i beat it and stuck on the Master Pokemon Challenge. Here is where i stop as well. Later gonna find more interesting cheats ^~
  • Galdr - October 8, 2008 3:19 a.m.

    I'll agree, it IS a tad repititive... though the music is sometimes catchy at first, but when you're in the *spoiler somewhat* Aegis Cave dungeon, the music is SO annoying you'd want to through the DS to a wall, naturally. But overall it is really cute... and it's somewhat emotional if you like... emotional type of games. The Partner's still timid and has attachment issues, but hey. It's not as bad as it looks. They COULD'VE done a better job with this, like make it able to connect with the sister games via Wireless or by Dual Slot (for the Red Rescue Team)... They also could've made a wii version and make it 3-D too for more fun and see how moves are used in 3-D dungeon style compared to Battle Revolution~ But that's all my opinion and review. Since I've played this already... okay I'll stop. As the previous comment, they could've added a little more detail... and could've made more towns than just one little town.
  • megakill999 - July 15, 2009 10:11 p.m.

    I give it 5 stars.
  • Sizzler - December 28, 2008 12:44 a.m.

    "Dungeon crawling aficionados should play Shiren the Wanderer, Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, Etrian Odyssey, or several other games that offer deeper, better, and more challenging takes on this style of gameplay." One down, 2 to go. I hope that Shiren and Odyssey are as good as Izuna 2 was. As for this game, I was half-heartedly sucked into the plot (I'm a sucker for anything with a mediocre plot), and I had a good time with it, for the most part (Dang you Aegis cave!) until all the stories ended. From that point the only thing that kept me playing was waiting for Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns and the desire to grind until I reached level 100.

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